Posted by: atowhee | February 6, 2016


Sure enough.  Not only did the day pass without rain.  For a few moments this morning, there weer shafts of sunlight in the rain forest.FOREST SUN  MOSSY TABLEPuddle in field south of McMinnville Airport.  A dabble of Green-winged Teal.GWT PUDDLSteller performer at Airport Park. STLLRYellow-rump hits the suet. YR AT LOGG (1280x960) YR MID-AIR (1280x960)

Posted by: atowhee | February 5, 2016


The Oregon Natural Desert Association is collecting names of hundreds of folks who want to help restore Malheur when the occupiers are gone and only their damage remains.

Conservation groups in the region say they are getting lots of interest and inquiries about what individuals can do to help their beloved Malheur.

One of the Oregon men arrested in the Malheur occupation has now been released from jail. A convicted felon, he was in illegal possession of weapons when arrested.

Meanwhile, the one man arrested in Arizona is not going to be released from jail…and he is now headed to Portland for further legal proceedings.

Posted by: atowhee | February 5, 2016


Arachnidologists have named a newly found California tarantula species after….Johnny Cash.  Why, you wonder?  The little guy was found near Folsom Prison.

Posted by: atowhee | February 5, 2016


First the call, then the small bird moving deliberately, almost cautiously, through the bare trees along the river.  My first Hutton’s Vireo in Yamhill County since last July.huvi glance  huvi sidehuvi leap

The human William Hutton for which this little westerner was named is mysterious.  Apparently he was collecting in the San Diego area when he found this bird.  More than that we know little.  He laso collected before and after San Diego on the East Coast, but then vanishes from the scant record about amateur naturalists in that period.  It was Spencer Baird of the Smithsonian who used Hutton’s name for this newly discovered species in 1851.

Hutton’s namesake is only slightly easier to pin down.  Looking much like a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, this vireo is slightly plumper and not as nervous and twitchy as the lookalike kinglet.  This vireo also has no black line among its wing bars.

Also at Wennerberg park this morning, a treetop full of Flickers: flkr topThe third flicker has already fluttered down to the ground when I got this shot.

Nature’s moving earth around again.  The recent flooding has eaten away the cutbanks, moving that soil further on down the Willamette River, or even out to the Pacific past Astoria.  Yet the stubborn willows, cling, digging their roots back into the remaining and receding bank.bare ruts (960x1280)

Wennerberg Park, Carlton, OR, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Feb 5, 2016 10:15 AM.  11 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  3
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  1
Hutton’s Vireo (Vireo huttoni)  1     county lifer for me, pics on blog
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  2
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  X
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)  1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  75
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  20
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  2

Posted by: atowhee | February 4, 2016


All 12 suspects previously arrested have been indicted on a single felony count. Tomorrow these indictments will be made public. Arraignment for the eleven will be February 24th unless some ask for postponement.  Meanwhile, two are out on bail, the Bundy Bros and seven others are still behind bars.

Four occupiers remain at the Headquarters of Malheur. They are now among those indicted.  that brings to sixteen the number of occupiers who face federal felony charge of hampering federal workers in performing their jobs.  Further future charges remain possible.  ONe the sixteen indicted today also faces earlier state charge of vehicle theft.

Posted by: atowhee | February 3, 2016


Ursula Le Guin has written a series of poems about Malheur and the Steens Mountain country.  Here’s just one:


High Desert

Out here, there is another way to be.

There is a rising brightness in the rock,

a singing in the silence of the tree.

Something is always moving, running free,

as quick and still as quail move in a flock.

The hills out here know a hard way to be.

I have to listen for it patiently:

a drumming canter slowing to a walk,

a flutter in the silence of a tree.

The owl’s call from the rimrock changes key.

What door will open to the flicker’s knock?

Out here there is another way to be,

described by the high circles of a hawk

above what hides in silence in the tree.

The cottonwoods in their simplicity

talk softly on, as hidden waters talk,

an almost silent singing in the tree

that says, here is another way to be.

— Ursula K. Le Guin

More on the book, Out Here, just click here.

Posted by: atowhee | February 3, 2016


Were now in the second month of the right-wing gunmen’s occupation of the Malheur Refuge Headquarters in Harney County, OR.

One of the eleven arrested occupiers is in jail in Arizona and wants out.

Two of the occupiers or sympathizers arrested in Oregon have now been released, but neither of the Bundy Bros.

Comments to Birdwatching Magazine about Malheur.

It is good to realize the Bundy Bros and their cohort are dead-enders…fighting to save a culture that hardly existed except in imagination and Hollywood as the true arid west was built on government subsidies and Army expulsion of the Native Americans.  Here is essay on that whole evident trend all over the planet from Bundy to Isis to Putin to Saudi Arabia–cultures trying to stop inevitable change and upheaval.

Posted by: atowhee | February 3, 2016


Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) recently interviewed Oregonian Noah Strycker who’s set the record for most bird species seen in a single year…over 6000.

OPB is also broadcasting the first video seen by the public of a newly discovered slot canyon in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness.  It was an accidental discovery by a helicopter crew fighting a forest fire.slot

There’s also been a newly discovered arachnid species living in the Cascades.

And there’s good news for the natural world along the Klamath. Four dams are about to go.


Posted by: atowhee | February 2, 2016


After the Goose Festival I headed back north.  Best bird on the drive was a Merlin speeding almost as much as I was, along a fence row south of Redding.

At Canyonville’;s Rest Area I encountered a hungry trio.  One of the ladies gave me a sharp look.MRS. BBB (1280x960)

In Southern Oregon the snow made the conifers into crusted sculpture. P2630439 (1280x960) P2630440 (1280x960)

Posted by: atowhee | February 2, 2016


Now patriarch Cliven Bundy is claiming he owns Malheur for all the people.

The occupation continues with four hold-outs still at the HQ.

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